The sun is setting and a long line of protesters walk toward the AOK Library holding signs with pro-consent messages. 

Women's Center logo of the Wye Oak. Text reads “Women’s Center at UMBC”Silhouette of a person holding a megaphone with their fist up in front of a group of protestors. Text reads “UMBC’s Take Back the Night 2021” 

Welcome to UMBC's
Take Back the Night 2021

We see you. We believe you. You matter.

Land Acknowledgement

Nandi

This section narrated by:

Nandi

UMBC is located on the land of the Piscataway Conoy and Susquehannock peoples. The United States’ history is rooted in colonization and the exploitation of our indigenous population and 1 in 3 native women experience sexual violence. In order to end sexual violence we must reckon with past and recognize how it informs our existing culture of violence. We also humbly offer our respects to all past, present, and future indigenous people connected to UMBC.

Content Note

Carol

This section narrated by:

Carol

This page contains references to and stories of sexual violence. Approach the content with care and grace for yourself. Campus resources for support and reporting can be found here: OEI Campus Resources.

To confidentially report incidents under the UMBC Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy, and Anti-Discrimination Policy, visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.

What is Take Back the Night?

Autumn

This section narrated by:

Autumn

In 1971, a group of survivors hosted the first survivor speak-out in New York. Almost 50 years later, there is still a need for survivors and their allies to speak out.

A person stands watching the Take Back the Night Speak Out. The back of their teal shirt says “We see you. We believe you. You matter.”

UMBC’s Take Back the Night invites our campus to come together to speak out and heal together in community. Take Back the Night is a public testimony. It is about making sexual assault and our support for survivors visible and not tucked away behind closed doors. Each April, nearly 300 community members show up to The Commons Main Street.

The pandemic has impacted our ability to gather together, but we must not forget how critical public outcry and healing is. This website can never replicate the power of community, but we hope it creates space to bring us together virtually until it is safe to be together physically.

Three speakers serving as emcees stand facing the crowd at Take Back the Night with t-shirts from the Clothesline Project behind them.

Scroll down and immerse yourself in what Take Back the Night looks like when we’re on UMBC’s campus. Take in the pictures and videos. Spend some with the text. Listen to the audio. Sit with the reflection questions. How will you answer them with actions?

Speaking Out: The Survivor Speak-Out

Calista

This section narrated by:

Calista

“We can never know all the survivors who walk among us.”
Susan Naomi Bernstein

An aerial view of the Take Back the Night Speak-Out. About 100 people are sitting and watching a speaker.

According to the Take Back the Night Foundation, 1 out of 6 American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime and 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. These rates are even higher for women in college, women of color, and transgender women. It is estimated that 83% of women with disabilities are sexually assaulted within their lifetime. Sexual assault impacts members of the LGBTQ community at rates all too high and men are also survivors, though are often excluded from the story.

Like that first public speak-out in New York there needs to be space to say, “It happened to me”, “I am still here”, “I believe you”, “You are not alone”, “It is not your fault.” Perpetrators of sexual violence rely on the silence of their victims to avoid accountability. Rape culture depends on all of our silence and disbelief.

A microphone in front of the Clothesline Project

We invite survivors from the UMBC community up to the mic to share their survivor story. They stand in front of a backdrop of t-shirts from the Clothesline Project that tell other stories of trauma and healing. They speak their truth and draw strength and courage from our UMBC community.

For some survivors, this may be the first time they’re publicly sharing their story… or the first time they’re telling anyone. Not everyone can or is able to share, but sometimes just listening to another's story can open up a new journey of healing for someone else. Perhaps even next year, they’ll come back to share their story.

For this website, we asked some UMBC survivors to record their stories in the form of poetry to share here with you. We ask you to consider holding space to give witness to their stories. You can also spend time bearing witness to stories of survivors at UMBC that have been collected here: Survivors to the Front Zine.

And hopefully, when we gather together next year, you, dear survivor, can share your story with us.

#MeToo

Jessica

This poem by:

Jessica

The text of #MeToo

Title IX Tour Guide

Jessica

This poem by:

Morgan

The text of Title IX Tour Guide

Reflection Question: Has a survivor shared their story with you? How did you respond? How can you listen to and support survivors?

Take Action: UMBC is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment and recognizes its responsibility to maintain an environment which is free from sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. This requires you to play an active part! Do you understand what consent is? Do you understand the definitions of sexual violence or harassment? Click on the provided hyperlinks to learn more.

About 150 students march on the curved sidewalk in front of True Grit’s holding protest signs with pro-consent messages. 

Taking Up Space: The March

Nandi

This section narrated by:

Nandi

The experiences and stories of survivors are the reason we need to move forward… to march… to take back the night. We march in honor of all those who have been impacted by sexual violence. We march for a reality that does not tolerate a culture of violence and inflicted trauma.

Our march is led by survivors who hold up a “Survivors United” rally sign and have a megaphone in hand. They are followed by the UMBC community as we march throughout campus. We leave The Commons chanting "People unite! Take Back the Night! Whatever we wear, wherever we go! Yes means yes! No means no!"

Hear a sample chant:

Five students are mid-chant at the front of the Take Back the Night march with a crowd behind them. One student holds a megaphone, one holds a sign that says “Survivors United!”

We pass by Public Policy and right up to the doors of True Grit. We hold up signs that say “Create a World Without Rape” and “No is a Complete Sentence.” We march through Erickson Field and in front of AOK Library. We take up space on Academic Row — our voices echoing throughout what would otherwise be a quiet evening on campus. Passersby stop and wonder, “What’s all the noise about? Why are they marching?” And, that’s exactly why we march — to take up space. To make an often invisible experience visible.

Reflection Question: Who do you march for? What would your rally sign say?

Take Action: Share your rally sign with us on social media. Whether it’s a picture from a past TBTN or a picture of a sign you just created, let us see it! Tag your photo with #UMBCtbtn.

Three student speakers stand next to the True Grit statue surrounded by a large circle of marchers. The speaker is holding a megaphone.

Bearing Witness: A Circle of Care

Nadia

This section narrated by:

Nadia

Our march takes us down Academic Row. Allies of survivors circle around the statue of True Grit, our campus mascot, and survivors are called to move into an inner circle of support. We invite survivors who may not feel ready to verbally share their story to move forward into the circle so we can bear witness to them. We honor the survivors who are not present with us.

We say —“We see you. We believe you. You matter.”

We choose this place to gather because of where True Grit is located — in front of the Administration Building. We purposely pause our march here to acknowledge that sexual violence doesn’t just happen somewhere out there, but also here on our campus. It is a symbolic reminder of the campus protests and activism in Fall 2018 that prompted our campus to reckon more deeply with the issue of sexual violence on our campus. It is a calling that demands our campus leaders to continue choosing accountability and transparency in preventing and respondng to sexual violence on our campus. It is Retriever Courage in action.

A group of about 20 student survivors stand next to the True Grit statue in front of the Administration building. They are in the middle of a larger circle of marchers.

Reflection Question: What does courage mean to you? When have you been brave?

Take Action: It takes a courageous community to make a lasting impact on sexual assault here at UMBC and beyond. Change requires the courage to speak out, to listen, to learn, and to take action. How will you contribute to UMBC’s efforts to cultivate a survivor-supportive campus? How will you hold institutions accountable in dismantling a culture of violence? Share your commitment of support with us on social media by using #UMBCtbtn.

Being Present: A Community United

Kaitlyn

This section narrated by:

Kaitlyn

After we march throughout campus, we come back to where we started. Commons Main Street has been transformed from a speakout area to a community building space with chairs and tables full of crafts and self-care activities.

This is a moment to take a collective deep breath and exist for and with each other in this powerful and charged moment.

A group of 7 students sit and talk to each other around a table covered in markers, paper, and other crafting materials. 
A close up of 3 students with a focus on their hands and backs. They are sitting at a table and writing letters on colorful paper.

Survivors are invited to make a t-shirt to add to the Clothesline Project. Allies can write “Dear Survivor” letters which are intended to offer affirming words of belief to survivors. Everyone can make a calming lavender satchel to take home with them. A resource fair staffed by UMBC support offices like the Counseling Center, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Green Dot allows community members to learn how they can access support, gain more understanding, or get involved.

The Women’s Center ends our Supporting Survivors workshop with a question posed by Dr. Mollie Monahan-Krieshman. This question is intended to be a call to action.

Reflection Question:We ask “What would it mean to survivors for the entire campus community to be behind them in their healing? What would it mean for survivors that the care we give to them is not limited to the few on campus either whose job it is to do this work, or who have taken a special, personal interest in it?”

Take Action: So, what does that mean to you? How will you actualize this in your life?

Resources for Support and Reporting

Carol

This section narrated by:

Carol

For the most up-to-date information about campus and off-campus resources visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion Website.

Office of Equity and Inclusion Reporting Form

This form is used to report: Prohibited Conduct under the UMBC Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy, or the Anti-Discrimination Policy which covers UMBC students, employees, faculty, staff, interns, contractors, volunteers and visitors.

Women's Center at UMBC

Advances gender equity and an inclusive campus climate through co-curricular programming, support services, and advocacy for marginalized individuals and communities and cultivates a survivor-responsive campus as a means to address sexual violence. Professional staff can meet with UMBC community members to provide support via appointments or walk-in as staff are available. The Women’s Center also offers a weekly discussion group for students called We Believe You: for survivors of sexual violence/power-based violence.

Turn Around (off-campus resource)

  • Helpline (Voice Call): 443-279-0379 (24/7, local agency)
  • Text: 410-498-5956 (24/7; NEW as of December 2020)
  • Office: 410-377-8111

TurnAround serves individuals impacted by intimate partner and sexual violence. Services include advocacy, case management, trauma therapy, shelter and community education. Individual and group counseling are available by appointment.

UMBC Counseling Center

Counseling and mental health services for students provided by licensed professionals (on-call after hours), including referrals to off-campus services for students.

410.455.2472

The After-Hours Support Line is available to support students experiencing a mental health crisis, health issues, sexual assault or relationship violence: 410.455.3230

University Health Services

Provides medical exams, including STI/HIV and pregnancy testing for members of the UMBC community by licensed professionals

410.455.2542

Note: UHS cannot provide a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE). To learn more about SAFE exam options and availability, visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.

UMBC Police

24-hour police services and emergency response, acts as liaison with other agencies (e.g. courts system, medical facilities, criminal investigations), including protective order registration for on-campus enforcement and campus escorts

410.455.5555

Green Dot

The Green Dot program is a violence prevention and bystander intervention program at UMBC. The goal of the program is to engage a critical mass of our community in a behavior change where violence will not be tolerated and the end result will be a reduction in violence.

This website was created by the Women’s Center to create space for survivors and their allies in the absence of coming together in person for Take Back the Night 2021. Thank you to OIA staff for their technical assistance in creating this special space. For more information about Take Back the Night or this website, or to contact a Women’s Center staff member, email us at womenscenter@umbc.edu